Published On: November 19, 2018

Curitiba Ranks First

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Curitiba is the “smartest” and most connected Brazilian city, according to organizers of the fourth Connected Smart Cities conference, which was held in São Paulo. A smart city is one that utilizes the most modern technology to provide the best results for city planning.

The members of the Connected Smart Cities committee used 11 indicators to make their determination of the winner. The members analyzed 700 cities in Brazil and ranked those with the greatest development potential.

The Smart Cities conference in São Paulo attracted 150 mayors from across Brazil, along with representatives from Brazilian and multinational companies, entrepreneurs, and academics who discussed mobility, e-governance, and development for smart cities.

The mayor of Curitiba, Rafael Greca, accepted the award on behalf of Curitiba. He said the city is recovering its ability to innovate and becoming a national reference again in public management.

Curitiba Mayor Rafael Greca accepting the award

Curitiba Mayor Rafael Greca accepting the award

“Our commitment is to improve people’s quality of life and that is why we foster such projects as the innovation environment in Vale do Pinhão; an ecosystem open to the private sector; start-ups; universities; and entrepreneurs. We are focused on developing integrated actions to encourage technology, promotion, integration, education, entrepreneurship, and revitalization of regions with employment and income,” the mayor said.

Greca added that the city re-launched Curitiba Tecnoparque, a tax incentive program to attract technology-based companies that invest in city innovation. “In addition, Curitiba has four technological hubs, seven incubators, and presented a growth of 20 percent of micro companies,” he said.

Seven cities in the southeast of Brazil and three in the south took the top ten placements. The best cities outside the south were Campo Grande (12); Recife (13); and Palmas (18). São Paulo took second place behind Curitiba and was the winner in two categories: mobility and urbanism.

Federal University in Curitiba

Federal University in Curitiba

Corruption scandals in the past few years have been detrimental to Brazil’s technology sector by draining resources from state and federal budgets, but an upside of the scandals has been to accelerate actions in favor of transparency, data integration, and speed in the management of local governments. Many of the participants in the conference consider that to have smart cities it is necessary to bring different actors to the government.

Rafael Burity, Head of User Experience at Atech, a Brazilian company dedicated to the development of solutions for command and control systems, said it’s not about governing but collaboration. “Local governments want smart cities but alone they will never reach that goal even if they have a state-of-the-art infrastructure or digital technology,” he explained. “Governments must organize themselves first; they must work in an integrated manner and optimize internal communications. I visited a local government that had 87 different communication systems.”

Sergio Andrade, Director of Agenda Pública, a third sector entity that supports local governments in the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, says that administrators must open their minds to improve management and transparency.

Governor's offices in Curitiba

Governor’s offices in Curitiba

 

“The municipalities are like dinosaurs. They don’t know what is happening, and they do not listen. That is why it is important to encourage incubators and ‘hackathons’ because young people are discovering specific solutions for local problems,” said Hélio L. Costa, a professor at the Federal University of Alfenas in Minas Gerais.

Hélio added it is necessary to take advantage of human resources to elevate the quality of life and find solutions from the base up. “We can’t speak of an intelligent city if there are no mechanisms to inhibit corruption,” he said. “We need to use new technologies intelligently and learn how to integrate data and organize it.”

 

[This article appeared on the Cities Today website in slightly different form. Photos of Curitiba courtesy of B. Michael Rubin]

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